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B61 Riders Can Now See Where Next Bus is Via GPS

BusTime – which equips MTA buses with GPS trackers that riders can access via phones or the web – was unveiled for the unreliable B61 line.

The MTA announced that the B61 will soon be equipped with BusTime — a system that provides real-time bus arrival and location information.

In December, Councilman Brad Lander, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and Councilwoman Sara González released a study named “Next Bus Please: Improving the B61 Bus,” .

The BusTime improvements, which will be installed no later than this June, uses GPS devices on buses, which riders can access from their cell phones or computers, to find out where the next bus on the route actually is.

The MTA first implemented this system in 2011 on the B63 bus, which runs along Fifth and Atlantic Avenues in Brooklyn, as well as lines in Staten Island.

Other scheduled improvements to the B61, via the MTA, are:

- More frequent buses during the evening rush hour, increasing the average headway from ten to nine minutes.

- More reliable service at all hours, such as an increase in the amount of time the bus has to make the run and to recover at the end of the route, and a change in the location of the bus driver shift change from the middle of the line to the end of the line.

“Installing BusTime is a great step forward for B61 bus riders, who have been frustrated for years with infrequent and unreliable bus service,” said Council Member Brad Lander.  “The MTA has worked with us to make improvements to the line and I look forward to taking further steps to making the B61 a great bus for these neighborhoods.”

In December, it was also announced that along the B61's route.

Jenny April 12, 2012 at 04:32 PM
if this works, it seems like it should be really helpful....
Brookboy April 13, 2012 at 04:55 AM
The B61 is terrible!!! When it is running from Windsor Terrace to Downtown Brooklyn, it is often filled by the time it gets to Court Street, which is less than one-quarter into its route. Sometimes there are LONG waits between buses, and other times multiple buses arrive together, even near the beginning of the route. The timetables that are posted at the stops are a joke. Taking the B61 from Park Slope to Downtown Brooklyn can range from frustrating to painful, not to mention the time it takes. At least they are ending the practice of switching drivers along the route instead of at either end. Can't count how many times the bus driver who was supposed to be relieved had to wait for the relief driver, usually in a bus full of people, many of whom were standing. It will be interesting to see how this new system works out. Given the MTA's near-total disregard for the needs of everday riders, many of whom have significant mobility challenges, I can't help but be skeptical. But we'll see...
Kourtney April 13, 2012 at 03:15 PM
this will be super helpful! Now I can procrastinate getting ready for work until the very last second and still catch the bus!
Sandy April 15, 2012 at 06:24 PM
This BusTime crap is awful. It says that my bus is 1 mile away. How the hell does that help me in any way?????? Even when it is closer and says it is 10 blocks away, does that mean 5 minutes or 30 minutes? The Downtown Connection uses a company called Nextbus (www.nextbus.com) that actually gives an arrival time. You would think with a name like 'BusTime' that arrival times are given instead of ambiguous distances. What a joke and a waste of my damn money!
rick sanchez April 16, 2012 at 04:40 PM
sandy, it's not rocket science. i use it all the time for the B63 and find it quite useful.
Patti April 16, 2012 at 06:30 PM
I think even if Nextbus says 10 minutes away and then there's a delay 10 could mean 20 minutes in reality. Then, of course, 10 minutes but all of a sudden traffic clears and there's the bus in only 5 minutes. They are both tools and whichever you relate to best - use it.

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